Last week, I spent a few minutes with the Galaxy Z Flip at Samsung’s office in Delhi-NCR. Soon, one thing was clear: the Galaxy Z Flip indeed uses ultra-thin glass and not a polymer display like the one seen on the Galaxy Fold and Motorola Razr.
A Samsung employee clarified that the phone’s ultra-thin glass has a protective layer too. “But users also need to be careful, in terms, of keeping it away from the sharp objects in the pocket.”
The controversy erupted after YouTube channel JerryRigEverything found that the Galaxy Z Flip’s screen scratches just like the plastic display. Soon the narrative was set that Samsung’s claim of the Galaxy Z Flip of using a glass display was untrue. Some claimed Samsung could be using a “glass-hybrid-polymer”, others put the company in the dock for using a “fake” glass display.
You can watch the JerryRigEverything video here:
As it turns out, the Galaxy Z Flip’s display is real glass that folds. The glass display is actually made by German manufacturer Schott, as reported by CNET. Separately, through a press release, Samsung Display said the glass display is 30 microns (roughly 0.03mm) thick and is produced using an “intensifying” process to enhance its flexibility and durability. Samsung didn’t offer too many details, but it did say the company used a “special material” to an undisclosed depth to achieve a consistent “hardness”.
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The controversy around the Galaxy Z Flip’s display was overblown because Samsung never claimed the phone’s Ultra-Thin-Glass (UTG) offers similar scratch resistance like Gorilla glass made by Corning. Most smartphones in the market, including Samsung’s own Galaxy S20 Ultra and Galaxy Note 10 Plus, come with tougher and more durable Gorilla Glass 6.
If you watch any of the Galaxy Z Flip product videos, Samsung clearly emphasises on how it had bent the laws of physics by bending glass and made “a leap from polymer screens to Ultra-Thin-Glass (UTG) glass technology”. The focus has been on sending a message that the Galaxy Z Flip is the world’s first foldable smartphone with a glass display.
Like the Galaxy Fold, the Galaxy Z Flip also comes with a lot of warnings in the retail box that tell you that the foldable screen is prone to damage if mishandled. Even though the Galaxy Z Flip’s glass screen is sturdier than polymer screens, Samsung still urges users to handle the device with utmost care. I think Samsung has been transparent about the pros and cons of foldable screens.
My quick take on the Galaxy Z Flip
While using the Galaxy Z Flip, I never felt I was holding a fragile foldable phone that could break anytime. The phone does feel durable and the use of a glass screen gives it a good feeling. Yes, you can clearly see the crease on the display but it is less annoying than the one seen on the Galaxy Fold. The best part of the Z Flip is the hinge, which is a bit stiff this time around. I liked the Flex mode, which basically converts the Z Flip into a mini laptop.
Of course, one can’t expect it to be perfect. Let’s not forget the Galaxy Z Flip is the first-generation foldable smartphone and there are questions on how the phone will perform in the long run.
All in all, my brief experience with the Galaxy Z Flip was compelling and I still believe the Galaxy Z Flip is a more refined device than other foldable smartphones available in the market.
If you are planning to buy the Galaxy Z Flip, I would urge you first to try the device yourself at a nearby Samsung store and then decide whether you want a foldable phone or not.
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